Tuesday 15 January 2019

O'Gara proves there's still all to play for

Ronan O'Gara steered Ireland to a 21-18 Six Nations victory over Scotland and then revealed he is thriving amid a new outlook on the game.

O'Gara was named man of the match at Murrayfield after scoring a try, slotting three conversions and producing some trademark pinpoint kicking from hand.

It completed a successful return to the team with the 33-year-old making his first start at fly-half since November.

"For years my rugby was so important to me that I'd take it so seriously. At times I'd take things personally," said O'Gara.

"I've been lucky, this career has been brilliant to me and there's nothing I'd change.

"But at this stage I've got to enjoy it because there's a year or two left."

O'Gara scored the last of Ireland's three tries after Jamie Heaslip and Eoin Reddan had crossed in the first half, establishing a 21-9 lead.

Wasteful finishing allowed Scotland to claw their way back into the game, however, with two Chris Paterson penalties and a Dan Parks drop goal setting up a tense climax.


Ireland ultimately survived the fightback but complaints from both coaches at the input of referee Nigel Owens were a smokescreen for a low quality match contest by two teams that performed poorly.

However, O'Gara could at least draw a measure of satisfaction from the afternoon.

And he now intends to keep the number 10 jersey out of the hands of rival Jonathan Sexton.

"Yes and no did I think I had a point to prove. I was frustrated and disappointed not to be getting more games," said O'Gara.

"But in the bigger picture with the World Cup coming I could understand it.

"Now it's all to play for in terms of starting and adding something.

"I've adapted well to competition and it's brought out the best in me over the years, and no more so than now."

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